Records Battle Over Rumored Hooker Dalliance

WASHINGTON (CN) – An immigration officer claims in a federal complaint that the brass improperly denied his demand for records about a top agent rumored to have lost his credentials to a prostitute.

Filed on Dec. 30 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the lawsuit by Supervisory Special Agent Jason Mount appears to be the only public source of the credentialing mishap.

Mount brought the suit after waiting a full four years for Homeland Security to comply with the Freedom of Information Act and produce “all DHS OIG records and/or reports from January 1, 2002 through November 17, 2012 that contain information regarding an allegation that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, Supervisory Special Agent Peter Edge lost his official credentials to a prostitute and the credentials had to be retrieved by local police.”

Answering the request is in the public interest, Mount says.

“Specifically, Plaintiff wishes to ascertain whether Defendant disciplined an employee who grossly misused government funds by engaging in criminal acts,” the 3-page complaint states.

Discussing his case in an interview, Mount said he first heard the allegations from a co-worker. At the time Mount says he was fighting with the agency over retaliation he claims to have faced for providing information to a witness in a Merit Systems Protection Board hearing.

An internal employment dispute over the alleged retaliation is ongoing, said Mount, who remains employed by the agency.

Mount did not delve more deeply into the allegations against Edge or provide additional evidence to support them.

The agent’s attorney, Morris Fischer, noted in an interview that the Freedom of Information Act request is related in that it could show the agency has not been “up and up” on its disciplinary practices.

Mount also filed an employment-discrimination suit in 2012, claiming he had been passed over for jobs in the agency and denied an office because he is a man.

U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson ruled for Homeland Security in that case on March 31, 2016.

Fischer’s law firm represented Mount in that case as well.

The Department of Homeland Security denied Mount’s FOIA request in November 2012, nine days after he filed it, refusing to confirm or deny the existence of the records Mount was after.

But Mount says this response, known as a Glomar response, is nonsensical because he was interviewed during the agency’s investigation into the allegations against Edge.

“At the very least I want my own statement.” Mount said in an interview. “They have since failed to provide that.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security declined to comment on the case, citing department policy against commenting on ongoing litigation.

FOIA exemption 7(c), which the department cited in support of its decision to deny Mount’s request, allows agencies to protect personal information in law-enforcement records.

But Fischer says that exemption should not apply because some of the documents his client sought are not personnel records. Communications between agency officials about Edge’s case and other internal documents would also be caught up in Mount’s request, he added.

“I think the agency is going to provide any excuse it can not to provide them,” Fischer said in an interview. “And again, this whole thing assumes that everything on Mr. Edge was a personnel record, which we don’t believe is the case. Now if there are communications about this between management officials, that’s not a personnel record and that could have a direct impact on how they handled that situation.”